Reduce risks of frozen pipes by doing a few simple tasks now. Plus learn what to do when pipes freeze or burst.
Prevent Pipes from Freezing
- Disconnect garden hoses and, when possible, install covers on outside spigots.
- Set thermostat to 68.
- Leaving the house at 68 is a great idea, but it does nothing if the power goes out. No power, no furnace. No furnace, no heat. No heat, frozen pipes. If you are leaving for an extended period of time, the best way to prevent pipes from bursting is to turn your water off at the main, fully open all faucets (showers/bathtubs/sinks), and flush all toilets after turning the main line off. This allows pipes to empty. Leave faucets open while you are gone. * Don’t forget about washing machines and dishwashers.
- Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
- Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. This knowledge comes in handy in an emergency.
- Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape.
- Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
- Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
- Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing.
- The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.
- Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
- Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.
- These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions.
- Identify cold air drafts coming in from a fireplace flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.
What to do when a Pipe Freezes ~ but has not burst
- If an inside faucet or pipe freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. For safety reasons, avoid using a hair dryer if the area has standing water.
- To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water, and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
- When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.
What to do when a Pipe Burst
- Shut off water at the main valve.
- If the break is in a hot water pipe, close the valve on top of the water heater.
- Call a plumber.
- Keep our emergency number nearby for quick access: (317) 617-0384.